Potholes have spread to almost all streets in West Windsor. It is getting more difficult to drive around town without failing to avoid them. Do you know that roads in this condition can cost a family an average of $300 per car per year to replace damaged and worn suspension parts and tires?

In January, I replaced four tires after driving only 20-plus miles/day in town throughout last year’s mayoral campaign (the tires were in good condition last July). The filled potholes are another set of problems by themselves.  They are seldom flat; rather, they are bumps, cracks or dents in the road.

Potholes usually originate from cracks in the road, such as failing joints shown in the photo above. At left is a pavement joint done in 2015 on Scott Avenue. In less than two years, the deterioration is clearly visible (arrow 2) in contrast to the better region above (arrow 1); a good joint should last more than 5 years.

Next year, this crack will enlarge into a pothole similar to that depicted in the right figure (arrow 3, paved in 2014 on the same street).

Preserving the road by sealing the cracks now can prevent potholes from forming and is the most economical way to extend the road’s lifespan for years, costing down to only 5 percent of what it would for alternative treatments at delayed stages.

In 1989, the Federal Highway Administration required transportation departments to develop a pavement management system, aimed at preserving the right roads at the right time using the right treatment to keep roads in good condition at minimum cost.

Using our current “fix the worst roads first” method at the $2 million/year road repair budget (it is mostly in the form of a bond), it would take more than 35 years to repave all our roads once—longer than our average road lifespan of 15 years.

However, by following the “three rights” method, we can have all our roads in good condition in 10 years and keep them that way all for the same budget, or less.
As a council member, I will work on introducing this pavement management system to West Windsor, without increasing our road repair budget. In 10 years, all West Windsor roads should be in good condition and residents can start saving the $300 per year in car repair costs.

— Yan Mei Wang
Wang has announced that she is seeking election to the West Windsor Council seat that will be on the ballot in November.